Wednesday, June 15, 2005

U of W Medical doesn't learn from crime and penalty

The University of Washington Medical School harbored felons on their faculty for several years and paid for it. And there is more evidence this week that they learned little from the experience. Dean Paul Ramsey ignored two audits in 1996 and 97 (he was department head then) that indicated there was massive fraud in billing - in 13 departments under him. Two years later it was only reported because a whistleblower blew the whistle! Ramsey ignored the problems in his area of control:
In 1998, Ramsey received a letter from a UW doctor pointedly warning him that physicians were falsifying Medicare bills. Ramsey ordered an investigation that found no wrongdoing, although a written report wasn't produced until after the criminal investigation began in late 1999.
And Ramsey's coverup continues. Yesterday's Seattle Times story is based on reviewing the original audits. How is Ramsey now involved? Actually, I don't know if the current coverup is by him or higher up, but they are still working at it:
The audits, kept secret since 1997, were obtained by The Seattle Times last week under a public-disclosure request. The university initially denied the request, citing attorney-client privilege because a law firm was involved in arranging the audits.
Fortunately new UW President Mark Emmert reversed the decision. This story doesn't remind us of the fact that "... Dr. H. Richard Winn, a neurosurgeon, pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal investigation and resigned with a $3.7 million separation agreement." I wish reporter Sharon Plan Chan or her editor would link to her own previous stories. The UW paid the federal government a $35 million penalty last spring. June 20, 2004 Why is Dean Paul Ramsey still on the job? He oversaw the crimes; his investigation didn't find anything; he ignored warnings; he covered up; he gave the felon $3.7 million and caused a penalty of $35 million. Accountability isn't expected, we can plainly see. And the money? It doesn't seem to matter... After all, it's our money that's paid. Money is of small consequence to the UW Medical School dean. He goes to the Legislature and gets our tax dollars. Oh, is Ramsey affected by this? Private donations to the UW were down 35 per cent last year. Would you give the U of W Medical School your hard-earned money?

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